This article deals with the complex issue of standing in the case of a maintenance modification upon the age of majority of the maintenance beneficiary (the person entitled). The specific case, which was dealt with by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia, highlights the importance of adequate procedural practice and representation, which can help to overcome legal complications in similar situations.

The submission of the first petitioner – the mother

The non-contentious proceedings for the modification of maintenance for the (then) minor daughter were brought by the mother (the first petitioner), in which she sought an increase in the maintenance fixed by a court settlement with the other party (the father).

The age of majority of the child

During the course of the proceedings, the daughter came of age, and, after reaching the age of majority, her participation in the proceedings as the second petitioner began. The Court of First Instance dismissed the petitioner’s (mother’s) submission. At the time of the decision of the Court of First Instance, the daughter had already reached the age of majority.

Appeal against the decision of the Court of First Instance

The mother (the first applicant) appealed against the decision refusing her submission for an increase in maintenance, but her appeal was dismissed by the higher court. The Higher Court reasoned that the daughter had reached the age of majority during the proceedings and that the mother (the first applicant) no longer had an active procedural standing to seek an increase in maintenance from the opposing participant and, consequently, no longer had a legal interest in appealing.


The Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia decided on the case after the first petitioner (the mother) lodged a revision and on 6 September 2023 issued an order under II Ips 53/2023, by which it annulled the decision of the Higher Court and returned the case to the Higher Court for a new appeal procedure.

The essential issue

As stated by the Supreme Court, the central issue in the decision was whether the appellant (the mother) had standing to bring the appeal. According to Articles 32 and 33 of the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act, formal and material participants have this right. In the revision, the Supreme Court addressed the question of whether, in the totality of the circumstances of the case, the Court of Appeal had deprived the first applicant (the mother) of her right to a remedy under Article 33 of the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act, contrary to her status as a person entitled to a remedy under Article 32 of the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act.

Status of a party to the proceedings

The Supreme Court addressed the issue of the relationship between the status of a material and formal party to the proceedings and the procedural position of the first applicant in the specific proceedings. It found that the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act must also offer procedural flexibility to material parties, i.e. persons whose legal interest could be affected by a judicial decision, if such a person applies to be a participant in the proceedings to carry out the procedural acts in which he or she demonstrates a legal interest. The decision of the court of first instance should be made and can be subject of an appeal.

In the present case, the Court of First Instance did not rule on the mother’s (procedural) participation from the time of her daughter’s age of majority (the mother had filed the submission before her daughter’s age of majority) and consequently did not issue a separate decision, but instead served the final decision to the first applicant (with a notice of the time-limit for appealing), since the mother had always had the status of a formal party to the proceedings. It was she herself who had lodged the submission, and there was, therefore, no need to recognise her as a party under Article 22 of the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act.

The decision of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court stated:

“The Court of First Instance also treated the applicant as a formal participant, decided on her submission, served the decision to the applicant, the latter appealed against it and the Court of First Instance (which is competent to assess the legal interest in bringing an appeal – Article 33(1) of the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act) then referred the appeal to the Court of Appeal for a decision. The Court of Appeal then dismissed the appeal of the formal participant (who is entitled to bring an appeal under Article 32(1) of the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act). The Court of Appeal should not have done so even if the appeal was made by a material participant who had not yet been granted participation at first instance – without the Court of First Instance first having held that he or she did not have a locus standi (last sentence of Article 32(1) of the Non-Contentious Civil Procedure Act), which it would have had to decide by order, against which the appellant would then have had a separate appeal. Therefore, it is even more procedurally impermissible to reject the appeal of someone who has the status of a formal participant.”

Certainly, an interesting judgment and an interesting case, which is in practice entirely possible. It is therefore even more important that the individual has adequate legal representation to anticipate and overcome such obstacles.


Written by: Manca Trček